I think we were all equally shocked this week to learn that paedophile Neil Wilson, who engaged in sexual activity with a thirteen year-old old girl, has been given an eight-month suspended sentence.
Wilson, who is forty-one, brought a thirteen-year-old girl to his house in Romford, where he watched her strip out of her school uniform, and she then performed a sexual act on him.
At Snaresbrook Crown Court, the Judge, Nigel Peters, told Wilson that the girl was; “predatory and egging you on.”
The Prosecutor, Robert Colver, described her as; “predatory in all her actions”.
What most people are finding difficult to comprehend is exactly why the Prosecution Counsel is laying blame with this teenage girl, and using such language. Surely that defeats the object of the Prosecution being there? I still can’t make sense of it. Why would the Prosecution label a teenage girl, and a victim of child abuse, as a predator? Alan Wardle, Head of Corporate Affairs at the NSPCC, said; “The child was 13 and the man was 41 – it’s pretty clear who the predator was.”
In describing this girl, the Judge said; “She appeared to look around 14 or 15, and had the mental age of a 14 or 15 year-old, despite being younger than that.” Even if that’s the case, even she appeared fourteen; wouldn’t that still make her legally underage? Their argument isn’t that she appeared to be over the legal age of consent, or that she was sixteen, but that she appeared to be fourteen.
The argument for the defence is that this girl appeared to her abuser to be two years below the age of consent. If she appeared fourteen, doesn’t that still make her a child? If the main point of defence is that the girl appeared to be fourteen, doesn’t that still mean that Neil Wilson willingly took part in sexual activity with what was, and appeared to him at all times to be, a child? According to his own defence, at no point did he believe she was a consenting adult. How is that even a defence?
Bafflingly, the Judge said; ‘There was sexual activity, but it was not of Mr Wilson’s doing. You might say it was forced upon him, despite being older and stronger than her.’
If the man was ‘older and stronger’ than this teenage girl, as the Judge states, how could a sexual act possibly, in any way, be forced upon him? I don’t know what either of them look like, but most thirteen year-old girls are pretty light, and sufficiently slightly built to be incapable of posing a significant threat to a fully-grown man. How many thirteen year-old girls are so large that they pose such a threat to a man that the man is incapable of defending himself? Is this teenage girl so incredibly enormous, and the man so exceptionally small, that he couldn’t at least push her off and get out of her way?
To say as a defence that a man was incapable of fighting off a teenage girl, at least enough to get out of the situation, is insulting and infuriating.
I think of my own dad when I was young, and the men I know, and most men in their forties, many of whom have teenage daughters with lots of teenage friends. Most men, if a teenage girl behaved even slightly inappropriately, would jump like lightning and be out of the room as fast as their legs could carry them, rather than be compromised. All normal men would flinch at the slightest hint of a provocative glance, and be out like a shot. Most men in their forties, if faced with a teenage girl on the beach in a bikini, would turn all Hugh Grant, go bright red, and look very embarrassed, and probably start examining a rock, rather than look anywhere in that direction.
The Crown Prosecution Service has said that the language used by the Prosecution was “inappropriate”, and David Cameron has made a statement to say that it is not appropriate for a prosecutor to describe a 13-year-old sex abuse victim as “predatory.”
The question is, why was it said in the first place?
I’ve seen several public comments on the coverage of this news item suggesting that the Judge has displayed excessive sympathy with the offender, and should come under personal investigation himself. Whilst it’s extremely dangerous to throw around such suspicions, I can certainly see why people would take this view. As it has been pointed out by several online commentators, no adult in their right mind would use the terminology used by this Judge, or describe a sexual act as being ‘forced’ on a fully-grown man by a thirteen year-old girl.
We all know that teenage girls can be provocative. We all know that girls can look and behave much older than they are. With make-up and the right outfit, a girl of fifteen could appear twenty. Heck, most of the Rolling Stones have been married to or living with teenage girls at one time or another. Teenage girls can be flirtatious, manipulative, and sexually enticing. They can be devious, and lead men on. It has been happening for centuries, I’m sure. However, the majority of men would see a child for a child, and would back swiftly away, if only for their own protection, if nothing else.
However, whilst a girl of fifteen can often appear twenty, in this particular case, the defence itself is stating very loudly that this particular girl did not appear twenty. The defence in this case states that the man on trial, the man convicted of being a paedophile, at all times during the incident believed this thirteen-year-old girl to be fourteen. Is that even a defence? He didn’t believe she was twenty. He believed she was fourteen.
The Judge told Wilson; ‘you have come as close to prison as is imaginable’, but when the Prosecution is calling the victim ‘predatory’, I don’t think that’s true.